Dr. Briana Hagen is one of Canada’s leading experts on mental health in the farming sector. She is based in Manitoba and works with the University of Guelph. Dr. Hagen and her colleagues have done multiple national studies and developed a program called, In the Know, which has been adopted and delivered in many provinces across Canada. The program is geared toward helping farmers better identify, understand, and cope with the many mental health challenges they face in their profession. Dr. Hagen was that the issue of mental health in farming is fundamentally different than in other sectors.
In a 2016 study Dr. Briana Hagen found that over one third of the farmers in the study had depression, and 58% anxiety. Challenges for farm operators are geography, the expense of the travel for treatment options and needing creative ways to take time off to work on mental health issues. Finding mental health supports that understand the challenges of farming is a barrier to farmers seeking the help they require.
Recently the Agriculture Research and Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA) received an approval for a $123,000 grant from the Alberta government to address Mental Health Awareness for Farmers. The plan is to reach out to the various national and provincial mental health stakeholders to develop a coordinated approach similar to what is being done in other provinces.
Below is an interview with Dr. Briana Hagen from The First Sixteen podcast recorded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada which can be found on the Agri-Info webpage. You can subscribe to Agri-Info e-newsletter from the same site.